Saturday, May 31, 2008

Your Life

It seems my brain has clicked over to acknowledge that at long last I am coming 'home' though also in my mind I am becoming more conscious of the fact that I gave up what was really my home to the vultures Pete and Mia out of practical necessity.
Its pretty easy so far, I have no anxiety about it. Some days I wake up and could be done with this travelling thing already, and others well its okay. But I am not experiencing the whole 'I don't want to go back and face reality' thing, partly because I am so great anyway that facing reality always left reality with the big messy barely 18 facial. Not duke awesome. No siree.
That said its not like the 'world' sucks or that I'm having a bad time or I want to cry between bryce's lusciously hairy breasts. No I just acknowledge that I made a mistake travelling this long, I can't enjoy where I am as fully as I should because I have become saturated with the sheer hassle of travelling. What people may forget for example is that the US is bigger and to some extent more diverse than Europe. It took me 2 and a half months to see a decent amount of Europe - eg 'yay another fucking cathedral' that I have really dashed through the US and Mexico.
So I will be back to the western hemisphere some time. Maybe even visit Morley in Toronto.
How do I know Morley is in Toronto? Morley makes it realatively easy to follow his life, I haven't seen him in I don't know 3 years but can say I have a better Idea of what he's done in the intervening period by virtue of him maintaining an online life.
But morley is interesting one could argue, even then I have a fair idea Harvard and I will need little catch up time and he lives a relatively uninteresting life compared to someone who completes a joke degree called 'entrepreneurship' only to go and learn how to be a comedian in Canadia.
Contrast that with Damo, a friend I saw in Boston who despite having the time to play Koosh for several hours a day (reinforcing my hatred of postgrad studies) yet makes close to no effort to keep anyone up to date at all. Combine this with the fact that Damo is almost only articulate within the confines of a debate he actually face to face had trouble remembering to explain what he had been up to in the intervening time fortunately there are certain tangibles to aid damian one can go inspect such as his very real girlfriend and the pile of books on his desk which indicate some research does get done and even I will admit trying to do research while I am looking over your shoulder probably is not going to happen.
Anyway, why am I talking about this? well because my parents are annoying, they needed my sister to view the photos I uploaded to facebook even though they both have their own accounts, they also don't follow my blog at all, which I'm sure my friends mum Brenda would do leaving them no age gap excuse. Thus I painfully have to rehash conversations I have already had over email, whilst never stooping so low as to cut and paste from my blog.
But if there's anything I feel anxious about returning, it is that I will have to have the same conversation over and over again. Its not that I don't care, I do otherwise I'd just grunt and keep walking, but like a kid in primary school who broke their limb on the holidays I know of no effecient way I can avoid telling the story again and again.
Anyway I logged into facebook and noticed my old housemate claims to be in a relationship. Which was surprising, one thing I look forward to is people who since I last saw them have done something with the 8ish months I've been away. Looking around facebook though, I saw a whole bunch of profiles and realised just how many people I have no idea about. How lacklustre I have been in following your life, whats been going on and so fourth.
Partially I am to blame, I stopped sending out inquisitive emails in about Germany when my soul broke and I became a bike peddling animal pausing only long enough to eat a kebab and sleep in a bunk bed in whatever hostel was available.
But I also thought of Harvard, and Morley and even Mr John, and other friends who actually keep blogs, and I thought. fuck you fucking friends. Facebook doesn't cut it for maintaining an online life, most of you admit have nothing more on your profile than one uncaptioned photo album called 'random' and one album from a holiday you took a year and a half ago. The rest is a funwall comprising of youtube clips sent from friends of yours I don't know and involve an alarming amount of transvestite related media, and then a ninja vs pirates plug in or an old 'what I'm reading' section and then a bunch of wall posts that detail 'heh *name* whatsup haven't seen you in ages lol' and thats about it with random variations.
So I have plenty of interest in your life, I'm not an arsehole. But realise the chances of me going and seeking out that information off my own initiative any given day is close to 0.
You gotta make your life available, fucktard. Don't call me an arsehole for not knowing you got a haircut. Blog it, then we can talk. Until then, fuck you.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Democratic Dissillusionment

I read some article on Hillary's 5 big mistakes in running her presidential nomination campaing, and am continually perplexed as to why she persists. But on hearing her send an 8 page memo explaining why she should be the candidate I thought, if you just look at the damage this would do to every card carrying democrat that wanted their voice to be heard in favor of Obama, the long term tradeoff has to be to ask Hillary to queitly pack up and go home.
It would be crazy for Obama to drop out of the race, it would be quite rational for Hillary to do so. Flipside again Hillary is being irrational.
It seems all her arguements are based on her greater chance of winning. If winning party nomination is based on winning in the general campaign rather than being best representative of party ideals, which for the people whose income depends on winning the big prize makes sense, and so this may go on to explain why for all extents and purposes two party democracies have increasingly converged to offer no real choice at all.
So I would simply implore the Superdelegates to realise that they should respect that by the rules Obama wins and the rules if need be need to be changed next time round, not this time. Otherwise Obama could have adopted the same strategy that in light of the rules was quite stupid.
Furthermore, Obama represents a more democratic candidate anyway, publicly funded over the internet rather than big cheque writers, grassroots campaining, all of that. just go eat some icecream cake hillary.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Reflecting on Travel: Advice

Seeing as I am now almost home I thought I should start actually reflecting on what I've learnt from my year(ish) gone vagabond. Here are the basic rules I think help me most now that I am a seasoned, turn up in a place you don't know shit about and don't speak the language guy who only really exists with money in his pocket.

Rule 1: be nice.

This infact should be the general rule of life itself. In the US customer service is so "good" it is annoying. and the fucking tips - which is irrelevant. Anyway it all comes from the 'customer is always right' mentality which is inherantly flawed. Considering that in order to have money by rule of thumb most of us have to be producers before we can consume. Yet I am amazed by the lack of empathy amongst consumers and morons that feel it is productive to fly off the handle at any frontline employee.
I like to believe when service is tardy, there's confusion, you've been robbed, a man-child is trying to incessantly befriend you in a hostel, there is some rational explanation for it. Even if there isn't there is no way to win from being an arsehole. Unless you want to win spit in your food, then you can win. But being nice across the board means people are less likely to play tricks on you, more likely to help you out and in general at the very least are more likely to feel better about their day. Being nice can come full circle, as I have experienced from the phenomena of anytime I couldn't get accomodation reading in a park at night usually got me an offer of a bed from a good samaritan (of course exercise judgement though)

Rule 2: be kind to yourself.

It is almost inevitable in a foreign culture that you will get ripped off, robbed, extorted, misinformed etc. A good way to lose more money is spend the next three days regretting your own stupidity and brooding over it. I gamble more than a person someone would describe as organised would and just recently got caught in New Orleans with no hard cash, meaning I had to change hotels and missed my shuttlebus I'd prepaid for. But fuck, even as I desperatly ran around town trying to find a bank that would except my card, I stepped outside of myself to calmly take in the sites and snap the occasional photograph. After I gave up, rather than kicking myself for not drawing more cash before the weekend I just went out and enjoyed my day. More impressive to me was my efforts at walking around Barcelona whilst my kidney stones danced around.

Rule 3: beware conversations

If you combine rules 1&2 you learn to forgive a necessary level of rudeness which is to walk on by people trying to engage you. All in all I have had 2 conversations with strangers outside of hostels that did not end in a request for money. My mugging in Turkey was based on an exploitation of my ingrained social conduct, which is to trust nice people. In that case I would rather be nice trusting me that lost 50 bucks than nice untrustworthy turk that had to split his 50 6 ways (presumably) and who knows what glamorous lifestyle he leads. At anyrate just beware that it will almost always end in a request for cash and stop being dissapointed. No different anystreet anywhere in the world.

Rule 4: Pack Light

This was Pete's more or less only advice to me before I left which I wisely ignored. But it is really good advice. Not only have I lost 10kgs over my travels. SO has my baggage.

Rule 5: Slow down.

I fucking hate the handluggage culture on airplanes now, in fact I hate everyone else on the plane just about. Not only do they cumulatively slow down boarding and disembarkation but everyone seems helbent on reclining their chairs in economy class where there is no leg room that resulted in a condition being named after it.
Infact of all the services removed from airtravel to successfully make it less pleasent than catching a bus yes I am saying I would spend 72 hours on a bus driving from LA to Melbourne over flying even if all their movies feature Dennis Quaide because the seats are more comfortable, the bathroom less busy, more luggage space and so fourth.
Anyway about slowing down, and how this all relates, I am usually 1 of 5-8 people who still seem to check their luggage on any given flight. Not only does it take 1 minute for the person in row 1 to get their stuff out of the overhead locker, it takes 1 minute for the next row, and even if at any given time 5 people get down their carry ons at the same time, invariably this leads to same people charging up the isle blocking other people from getting theirs. All slowing the disembarkation process down by 15 minutes. By which time my checked luggage has done 3 loops of the terminal, even on domestic flights with no customs to clear (or going to Italy) my bag usually beats me. Anyway supposing you do have to wait you may as well slow down, take the time to collect a map of the city, ask about transport to and from the airport, find a net cafe all these thingsthat leave you with more control.
And the advice is more general than that. In a panicked rush generally I have cost myself more time than slowing down, getting information and finding out where to go. There are always alternatives and contingencies. You aren't fucked until they get the knife up under your ribcage.

Rule 6: Trust the community

Book ahead where you can, and if a hostel has a shitty review just pay double for a hotel room. Because a shitty hotel room at least has privacy and you can throw down for a decent sleep once a month. A shitty hostel by comparison can be cold, noisy, restrictively beauracratic, derelict or insecure. More often though they are all of these things, a review of 38% is worth avoiding altogether and if you have packed light you can always just wander the streets at night (provided you are not in a place that shuts down at 10pm, like Austria in its entirity) and just fuck off the next morning.

Rule 7: Trust reason

Just fucking think, whatever jam you are in, it will have been preceded, and someone may, most likely will have thought a way around it. There is always a solution, the more I think the luckier I get, case in point Nuernberg, I arrived with no cash and a good 12 hours to wait for it to come through, which due to a glitch in the system became 36 hours, I simply went to the hostel, asked to pay on checkout and offered collataral it all worked out and it was one of the best Hostels I've stayed at. Part of that I guess is also, if you don't ask you don't get. But even then there are morecontingencies, like calling reverse charges international and asking your parents for help.
Infact I am so good at contingencies I haven't had to hock any of my jewellery the whole trip.

Rule 8: Don't trust reason

Every country has stupid idiosyncracies, like American pricing, they have nice round prices that don't include tax hence justifying the ongoing necessity of pennies as a meal that has been cosmetically priced at 6.90 becomes 7.12! Or france where crime is up and the fuzz are renowned for being useless, all service infact is close to useless there their train staff will idly watch the line for tickets double and then decide to drop one cashier. Or Germany and Austria closing Supermarkets on Sunday leaving the locals desperately scurrying out for bread. Or Italy with pretty much its entire government. At anyrate the term 'worlds best practice' is meaningless, this just makes reasoning more fun, like when I needed to call Damo in Boston only to discover a virtual absence of public payphones. Not the case to states over in NY, Chicago or even Katrina ravaged New Orleans. So you can count on something reasonable always being missing from the mix.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I know I have lost weight, I don't know how much. Anna commented, and thankfully her comments did not include 'you look great' with the implicit insult that I don't normally or haven't been looking great at some other point.
Infact, 'great' for my should always imply that I look like I could crush my enemies, rather than looking great as in beautiful.
Vicky who hasn't seen me much since highschool when I used to eat hotdogs or pasta with cheese for breakfast, run at least 6km a day and weighed a whopping 63kg merely commented that 'I still haven't put on any weight' little did she know that I was carrying an extra 10 or so kg just 2 months ago.
I caught fat off Brenton in Tokyo. In Toyota I was running an 18km circuit around Toyota city stadium and back out to the Taki's. I was in the best shape of my life aerobically, and somehow landing in the Akasaka district I just ended up eating really crap and went back up to 78kg, for my triumphant return to Miki in Takamatsu who when I told her I had lost weight but put it back on again kept remarking 'where's the proof? I can see in your face it is much fatter' and that was my last reliable weighing. The most recent unreliable weigh in was 64kg which is too light for me to believe. So I go by other indicators.
The first one I was using was whether I could wrap my thumb and middle finger around my wrist, then that I could wrap thumb and ringfinger around my wrist. The third measure was when I discovered that I could see three ribs on each side when I am lucky enough to stay in a place with a bathroom and a mirror.
The worrying thing is that I more or less stopped exercising three weeks ago and since then I have been eating in both Scotland and USA not the healthy eating capitals of the world. But it seems that I can't reverse the trend. I guess it did take me a long time to get fat and unhealthy in college, but I'm well past (I assume) the point I was going to cut off on my BMI back when I was a gym member at work. Fortuitously gym was much less effective at weight loss than the ordeal of travelling.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Self Referential Stupidity

'And for our American passengers rest assured you are certainly talking too loud' something to this effect as a prank announcement got an English public transport official fired. This statement though is ironic. Of all the various people of various places I have come across in different places all over the world, the English have been by far the most intrusive, loud, crass and impolite I have come across.
To take an example yesterday while waiting to clear Boston customs, I was stuck in front of an elderly British couple who aggressively complained the whole 30 minutes it took to work my way to the front of the queue. Classic comments were 'why can't I have my own form' response 'because they are wankers' and such. If only the English could experience their own customs process in Heathrow, where the customs official grilled me over my 5 day stay asking questions they had no intention of verafying or disproving, or even pursuing. They just gave me a hard time.
By comparison in the US (or Boston customs at least) there was a list of pledges to reinforce the staffs friendliness, and they were. The police pulled me up and checked my story and because I was Australian, had me go through an agricultural check despite not having been in Oz for almost 8 months now. But even then the whole process was friendly, efficient and polite, maybe its good to be white I don't know but it was in all an experience that left a much better impression than disembarking in Heathrow. I think a lot can be said of Melbourne customs because the drug sniffing dogs are so cute but even their they have no pledge to be friendly and welcoming.
Anyway I spent virtually no time actually in England, although transferring from Airports on the outskirts of London cost almost as much as my flights to Scotland and took longer than the flights themselves by 30 minutes each way.
But I did watch a lot of BBC and also one customarily rates the local talent wherever they are (its been a long time since I saw two attractive people on the same street) Scotland is great, one would say in Scotland that it is Brilliant, albeit I don't know how the scots manage to live past 40. But they are under England, having a First Minister instead of Prime Minister, like a state Premier, and their Prime Minister is Gordon Brown.
But the one thing I noticed most from British Media, being Television, news print and the top selling books in their Airport branches of Borders and WSmith, is that they are, for the most part pretty stupid. As in ten times worse than the Herald Sun's obsession with Collingwood, and Collingwood supporters. Britains whole Class system is stupid, it is reinforced stupidity, deeply engrained and now observed safely from the outside, a legacy I am glad to not be a part of.
Examples include housing prices in England being so prohibitively expensive that the resulting poverty is 40% of London children grow up in poverty. And furthermore, they love themselves, they tip well over Tim Friedman's 'memories to dreams' ratio in their constant celebration of how great they were back when they held the Raj and the world superpowers were England and France.
But I know back in the day when people got invaded, their became a need for some strong family to dedicate their lives to living in a castle and beating up anyone who infringed on the community, and thus they ended up later becoming the lords of their respective lands, and thus 'landlords' and then a class system was defined and whilst the landlords enjoyed the shortterm riches of living in a cold stone castle as opposed to dirt they ignored a long term view of community development and thus made the lower class stupid through self preferencial policy while they were being stupid themselves.
Add 1000 or 2000 years to the situation where you arrive at the present day where from reading the papers and seeing that Gordon Brown seems to have fucked things up economically speaking and the whole system seems to be on the brink of collapse and the alternative choice is the Tories and its hard to see who the fuck anyone should vote for over their.
I was introduced to a term 'Nej' I think it was which supposedly stands for 'Non-Educated Juveniles' apparantly a big problem over there. I also saw a news report on a device called the mosquito that exploits age related deafness to emit a sound that makes young people feel sick, and thus is being sold as a box to drive youngpeople out of areas as similar to the futurama 'Non Like it Hot' solution to Climate change made famous by Al Gore, solves the problem of Nejs 'once and for all' by simply driving them away to somewhere else through blatent age discrimination.
But I kind of agree, the investment opportunity of giving these youths a decent education and actual attractive prospects in life has been missed, missed so thoroughly in fact that I would hesitate to let them inherit the earth.
But at the same time it is a situation that is stupid, thoroughly, like watching somebody distrust their own feet, shoot themselves in their own feet and THEN ponder how they are going to walk to the bus station.
Thus my brief experience by proxy of the loud, crass, 'overweight, celebrity and sex obsessed' British to quote the new rough guide to england was the cherry on the top of my icecream of 'capatalism is stupid' revelation as I have travelled the world.
But the biggest eye opener was how much snide pleasure is derived in British media for talking themselves up as the real sophisticats in the 'partnership' of Britian and America when each of their striking points (loudness, crassness, uncoothness, overweightedness etc) seems to be not negligable traits of the English themselves. Infact if I had to pick words to briefly describe the Poms I came across those would probably be them, and nothing in my experience really contradicts this.
So there record straight, I admire england for its contributions and achievements to culture and science that are infact real, but man the society they have going there is worth slamming and slamming hard.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Dr Carl said on Sunrise or the Today show once 'Death is a new thing' implying that the whole birth death cycle was a relatively recent innovation. Gilbert Arenas recently commented on how Micheal Jordon was looking old all of a sudden, because even though he is still mentioned in probably every basketball publication at least 10 times a day, but publicly doesn't appear that often, this process is different from sme era legend Charles Barkley because he is on every week.
Similar to Jordan pick up any martial arts magazine and you will find Bruce Lee mentioned at least twice and he died years ago.
Anyway all these dudes were genetically blessed, dominant in many regards, and also good at replicating as memes, that is ideas that reproduce themselves, all our impressions and abstract ideas that fight for dominance in the attention pool divided up between all sentient beings.
But why oh why did genes when replicating decide to take perishable vessels? why all the chromosome mixing and matching? why not just cut out all the probabilities and risks and just end up being a nice neat ever lasting cell. No need to wait for how long it takes to produce Alan Turings, Godels, Einsteins, Jordans, Don Bradmans etc. if genes were just robust enough to last long enough why the fuck imperfectly replicate, get messy, copy imperfectly, compete, interact with an environment.
Except obviously things that are messy, variable and evolutionary, cope with a changing environment better.
So to all those people trying to live as long as possible, and use as many resources as they can (pretty much everyone) think big picture. You gotta get over it, the whole thing called life will be much more robust, less perishable if we keep doing what we're doing and mixing it up.
Its called entropy people.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


A Couple of months ago, Claire chastised me for not making an effort to see my parents whilst they were over in Europe. Now it isn't like riding a bike back over the Alps is the same sense of 'makng an effort' as say calling your parents once a week when you live on oposite sides of Melbourne. I wasn't oer the Alps though but instead trapped in Italy waiting for a replacement Visa Card, a real pain in the arse, but as it turned out I couldn't really move the 100km by train either because I was living off 5 euro a day.
But there was another reason that I didn't want to see my parents either, and that was that even before reaching Italy I was feeling the strain of travel, and for reasons I still don't comprehend I decided I had to ride around Europe and make it all 10 times harder again. The payoff was there but it did make the travelling thing into an ordeal that has resulted in dramatic weight loss and extreme mental fatigue.
I knew though if that I capitulated to seeing them, having good accomodation and food for a couple of days, it would jut make carrying on that much harder again, and at that stage I had barely even started on my modest bike ride.
But just over a week ago I arrived in Valencia, Spain and saw my sister for the first time in 7ish months and had a wonderful week watching movies and tv shows, eating food cooked in a kitchen not in a kebab stand and not having to constantly think about and concieve contingency plans as you do when travelling by bike.
And since then I haven't been able to give a shit about travelling at all.
Jesus could run down a street on fire and I would not really care if I missed it.
I have reached saturation point and I feel myself simply dragging my feet through obligatory travel and 'seeing the world' but can't muster much excitement.
I miss having a life too much. I miss sleeping in the same place for months at a time, I miss english bookstores, chinatown, I miss Takoyaki, checking out Japanese women on the trains, watching the Biggest Loser, watching Okamura get beat up on Japanese television. I miss combinis, I miss 7-elevens.
I miss getting on a bike and carrying less than 1 kilo on my back instead of 20kgs all up and having to peddle over small mountain ranges. I miss Japanese Libraries with their excellent magazine collections and incomprehensible study area rules.
I miss Japan and Australia equally because their I had a life, I don't like self-indulgent travel, I think the only way you could enjoy it at length is if you really hate your life normally. But I enjoyed working ten times more than this.
I would never contemplate suicide if someone told me I had to work for ten more years, but if someone said I had to travel ten more years I would throw myself out the nearest window.
In short I am well and fucking truly sick of travelling, like heroine things have to be much bigger and really different for me to enjoy them now, everything else just doesn't give me the same hit.
Oh well hopefully I will be seeing a few of you in a matter of weeks now.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Intolerant Hemisphere

Jung observed that human behavious is non-random, from this observation and a lot of work came the MYERS-BRIGGS personality profile, and later the DiSC model that is simpler and more effective. It devides the world up into hemispheres, namely the Think/Feel hemisphere, and the Intravert/Extravert hemisphere which creates the 4 quadrants that are essentially the same as MBs and Jung were getting at anyway.
Which isn't to say people with feelings don't think they just seem to favor emotion and how people feel for decision making over tangibles and blah bah blah I don't want to get into it.
What I do want to get into is how if you walk into a book store books teaching creativity (generally the domain of people on the end of the feel side of the spectrum) are outnumbered ten to one by books on how to be organised and/or achieve more (the domain of people on the think end of the spectrum). This is because the revelation that creativity was not an inborn gift (necessarily) but can be taught, can be taught just as good organizational talents can be taught.
But there had to be a reason why, and the answer came through a random discussion with Janice one day when I realised as Janice vented why nobody else in our family ever put in effort to tidy up the house, vacuum and so fourth that the reason was that nobody in our family actually valued living in a tidy house anywhere near as much as Janice did.
In short Janice was always bound to lose the 'who can stand it game' but that was just it, for reasons I don't understand it seems creative people can somehow for somereason seem to tolerate organised tidy people to a greater degree than organised people can tolerate their haphazard ways.
Thus the direction of conversion flows heavily in favour of organised, tidy, anal retentives. Infact only crazy movies like patch adams and films starring Pauly Shore seem to encourage people to 'loosen up'.
But then is their a corresponding direction of pressure for the other hemisphere, the partying extraverts vs the quiet homebody intraverts. Surely the need for quiet, polite reservedness would be what wins out? no from my experience the pressure is on to people to be social, to enjoy nightclubs and trips to the beach, to be energised by meeting new people.
And fuck, I'm a loser in two hemispheres, sort of like France.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Congratulations Kobe

There are sometimes when I can look at a person and see what is going on. Kobe had 3 championship rings on his finger before I finished my University Degree, then Shaq got traded and the lakers franchise plummetted.
A year ago Kobe only won 1 game against the pheonix suns in his playoff run, and somehow I knew that where other teams (like the Boston Celtics) needed a lot to become contenders, Kobe only needed a little.
Similarly in the same Championship run, Lebron managed to singlehandedly push past the pistons and get to the finals where he was rolled and I thought, Lebron is not going to make it for many a year. Infact hen I look at Lebron my feeling is that already stars like CP3 are coming up to make him a historical footnote, somewhere firmly below Stockton, Malone and Barkley as great players to never win championships.
It was the same watching Clemant in the Australian Open that year when he was defending against Game point in the third set and went on to win it. I could see that what was going on was that Clement was getting it wrong and he just had to decide to win, not that the other guy was getting it right.
So I expect Kobe to walk home with a ring to accompany his new MVP trophy and the real championship series will be when he goes up against New Orleans next week. Not whoever he faces from the east, although the Celtics will be formidable except after Atlanta Hawks pushed them to 7 games you never know.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

This just makes me sick

Hello, I've been away a while. yes, and what a while it has been. An impressive 645 km with a new one day benchmark of 139km which is the ineffecient distance on bycicle from Brussels to some town called Dounai.
It seems lady luck was out on said day. My hostel booked out in Brussels I remarked when trying to extend 'fine I'm sick of this shitty country anyway' and rode off torwards Tournai. An easy 80km or so. Except I got lost, I figured Belgium was a country that was small enough to make it impossible to actually get lost, and as it turned out I never actually was lost weaving across a grid, I just felt like it. I also felt like I had abundant daylight so stopped to read a chapter of my book at lunch instead of not stopping for lunch at all.
Then I got to Tournai, a small town close to the french border and seemed like a sleepy little place on edge of both country and offseason.
I found the hostel though was on the other side of what seemed to be a fair, and possibly the biggest event of the year, and so at 8pm I was advised to head for the border if I wanted to find some accomodation. What I should have done was camped in some field somewhere, but after having done that in the Netherlands I wasn't eager to repeat so soon, and somehow amazingly managed to ride 39km to Donai before sunset. This did however leave me completely dehydrated to the point where I was wiping salt grains off my forehead instead of sweat. This I will come back to.
After arriving in 'civilization' I set about finding a bed for the night.
Unlike everywhere else in Europe the street signs weren't very friendly or instructive for this purpose. Figuring I may as well gun for Paris on train I headed to the train station.
Here I met two youths and a bum, none of whom could speak any english but a managed to pronounce 'youth hostel' in french and the two youths quite warmly and charitably set out with me to find accomodation.
Unwelcomingly the bum also followed.
At the first hotel which turned out to be 70 euro for one night to which I balked and said I'd rather ride into oncoming traffic in the dark than pay that the bum reached into my pocket and I slapped his hand away and he claimed he'd been looking for a cigarette.
The next time he tried with more effort and less pretext and so I broke his fucking thumb. I grabbed it by its shaft and set about destroying it when he let go and backed off.
In retaliation he threw his cigarette butt at me which burned the tag of my cycling shirt zipper but overall I was elated by the experience of justifiably hurting a fellow human being.
This left me paranoid though through the rest of my trip through france, largely because if you haven't been you may not realise, and if you have been you may be able to distinguish, but just about every man over 30 in france looks homeless.
So France in my book is the creepiest country by far. I also had to shake off a bum that was doing a poor job of following me by running away.
And then I escaped france and am in Barcelona, which is a relative paradise. Even the few english people here don't bother me as much as other places.
Except the moment I arrived, literally I came down with kidney stones.
Kidney stones are worse than the Holocaust, or to put it less controversially the only way Hitler and the Holocaust could have been worse, would have been the addition of kidney stones into the equation somewhere.
I have stones to give birth to, and was wondering is there anything in the world that could make someone feel worse than this? and the answer is yes. Yes there is.
It is this write up in the age that poses a question that I guess is supposed to be rhetorical. But I find it easy to answer: not very.
Fuck, its like the author doesn't watch Summer Heights High and We Can be Heroes and think 'hang on this is like that "Little Britain Show"' and ponder the deeper question of how brilliant someone has to be to watch a BBC show and then just copy the idea substituting poorer Australian talent. Nor did they note that it is like the 5th or 6th comedy of fucking throwtogether character based comedy. Similar to when the networks went on the bender that produced 'Skithouse' and all those other memerable masterpieces. Maybe Chris Lilly has more longevity because the ABC would splutter and die without it, but fuck, he doesn't need anyone jerking him off for him.
And so I imagine if I read all 5 FUCKING PAGES of said article I would feel worse than the kidney stones but they are still in my system and I'm going to down some more painkillers now.

Note to cyclists: drink plenty of water.